Aberdeen Airport Eatery Now Passport Bar and Grill

The Aberdeen City Commission on Monday approved a contract for Tony Martinez to operate the eatery at Aberdeen Regional Airport.

With a two-year agreement in place, Martinez will operate the former SkyBar Cafe as the Passport Bar and Grill.

City Attorney Mark Anderson said Monday that the first two years will be rent-free for Martinez, but financial statements will be required to see if the business is successful.

Once the contract expires, Anderson said there is a three-year option but the rent-free aspect of the contract may be reviewed at that time.

It would be up to the airport board at that time to determine whether rent may be charged.

Martinez takes over the airport restaurant less than a year after it opened under Jim Sandvig, who still operates the CoffeeSmith cafe in Aberdeen.

Sandvig pulled out of the airport, giving his 60-day notice in March citing a lack of business at the SkyBar.

Sandvig had paid the airport $400 per month in rent.

Martinez has been in the cafe for several weeks learning the ropes and preparing to take over.

His rent-free contract was previously approved by the airport board.

Also Monday, the commission surplused a high-end cappuccino machine, which Sandvig had expressed interest in purchasing.

The option to buy the machine from the city was part of Sandvig's contract, should he pull out of the airport.